Bloodstock Open Air 2011 review

'It combines serious metal with the down right daft'

Bloodstock Open Air 2011 review

Photographer: Seamus ReidAli Ryland on 14 August 2011

Click for our best Bloodstock 2011 photos.

We English love a bit of the silly factor. Killer-Rabbit-Carry-On-Moshing kind of silly. And Bloodstock, showcasing the extreme side of metal with the glam, is often one of the best places to release the ridiculous.

It’s a bit of a letdown then when Saturday headliners Immortal (7/10) don’t give us wizards jumping out behind monitors or don top hats for the complete Papa Lazarou ‘Hello Dave!’ effect. Instead we get a serious, fan-friendly, frickin’ furious set. It’s good, but rather samey.

This holds true with our Friday fronters W.A.S.P. (6/10) too who, while looking rather Noel Fielding-style ridiculous (if you add 20 years and he still hasn’t realised he’s too old for his sequined goth boots), are more a laugh-at rather than laugh-with kind of band. Especially with the absence of hit ‘Animal’- it’s like booking Europe and them not playing ‘The Final Countdown’.

It’s lucky then that silly-Brits Evil Scarecrow (10/10) are on hand to provide a dirty black metal cover of ‘The Final Countdown’ as well as a world record attempt for the most number of people “doing the robot”. Does this prove only British bands can bring the giggles though?

That would mean Devin Townsend (9/10) is only putting on the Canadian twang as his nerdy nonsense involving oppressive demon puppets, interspersed with just a bit of music, is better than anything you’ll catch on the comedy slot. After all the abusive voiceovers (“yes you, fat man in the Man of War t-shirt!”) fans get a rare treat too as ‘Vampira’ is performed live for the very first time.

However, the fact that the funny seems to stay in the arena is what stops Bloodstock 2011 receiving a better mark. While Finntroll’s (8/10) clunking Ceilidh metal unifies fans into a communal jig, the kind of entertainment found trawling the campsites would fit the ‘sleaze’ (not silly) factor.

Wet tee-shirt south-west-four-sw4-2009 intensively run by older men, real hogs’ heads nabbed from the roast and used as urinals and plenty of puking is just some of the delights of Bloodstock by night. Yes, there may be festivals that are more feral and festivals that are a lot less laidback, but the laughter stops after rather too much exposure to its seedy underbelly and unwashed under bits.

Still, focusing on the negative belies the fact that Bloodstock never ceases to be the best festival regarding fan involvement in choosing bills, fun metal heavy enough to cause ear canal implosions and, of course, real ale. So Bloodstock Open Air 2011 proves it can once again combine the serious side of metal with the down right daft.

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